Set Sail on the Open Seas with a Fleet of Ocean Liner Posters

Featured in our October 25 Rare & Important Travel Posters sale are works promoting ocean liners from the golden age of travel.


Cunard Line



Ocean Liners

Lot 7: Kenneth D. Shoesmith, Cunard Line / Europe – America / [Aquitania], circa 1925. Estimate $7,000 to $10,000.


It was common practice to compare ocean liners to the Empire State Building following its completion in 1931. However, in a work by Kenneth D. Shoesmith, the Aquatania is being tugged out of the New York harbor and is situated between two non-descript NYC skyscrapers, making the same kind of comparison in a novel composition.


Ocean Liners

Lot 4: Cunard Line / Europe – America / [Aquitania], circa 1920. Estimate $1,500 to $2,000.


In this depiction of one of Cunard’s majestic four-funnel ocean liners, the unknown artist portrays the ship literally sailing off into the sunset. The remarkable inking of this work creates a luminescent effect, almost as if the poster is glowing from within.



Sail with the Unrushables


Ocean Liners

Lot 21: R.F.H., S.S. United States! To Europe / Sail with the Unrushables, circa 1967. Estimate $600 to $900.


Employing mid-century modern style, this poster was used to advertise travel by the S.S. United States. At the time of its creation, ocean liners were in competition with airlines. In response, this lifestyle campaign featured hip, attractive young couples in contemporary fashion, taking the slower, elegant, romantic and decadent way of life onboard the ship. The image, along with the campaign slogan, was also used in magazine ads.


S.S. France


Ocean Liners

Lot 22: Gary R. Kelly, Paquebot France / French Line, 1979. Estimate $1,200 to $1,800.


Several posters are advertisements for the S.S. France, created to hang in the staterooms of the S.S. Norway. The works mimic the style of the 1930s, however, they were all designed in the late 1970s.


Ocean Liners

Lot 24: Laura Smith, Le Havre to New York / France / French Line, 1979. Estimate $1,200 to $1,800.


Ship Portraits


Ocean Liners

Lot 9: Albert Sebille, “Minuit sur l’Atlantique” / “Normandie”, gouache maquette, circa 1937. Estimate $7,000 to $10,000.


This image of the Normandie ocean liner was painted by Albert Sebille and was most likely created to be given as a gift to first class passengers. Images like the one featured in the sale are often referred to as “ship portraits.”


For more in our October 25 sale, browse the full catalogue.